1st Edition

Political Invisibility and Mobilization
Women against State Violence in Argentina, Yugoslavia, and Liberia

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 30, 2020
ISBN 9780367856939
December 30, 2020 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Political Invisibility and Mobilization explores the unseen opportunities available to those considered irrelevant and disregarded during periods of violent repression.

In a comparative study of three women’s peace movements, in Argentina, the former Yugoslavia, and Liberia, the concept of political invisibility is developed to identify the unexpected beneficial effects of marginalization in the face of regime violence and civil war. Each chapter details the unique ways these movements avoided being targeted as threats to regime power and how they utilized free spaces to mobilize for peace. Their organizing efforts among international networks are described as a form of field-shifting that gained them the authority to expand their work at home to bring an end to war and rebuild society. The robust conceptual framework developed herein offers new ways to analyze the variations and nuances of how social status interacts with opportunities for effective activism.

This book presents a sophisticated theory of political invisibility with historical detail from three remarkable stories of courage in the face of atrocity. With relevance for political sociology, social movement studies, women’s studies, and peace and conflict studies, it contributes to scholarly understanding of mobilization in repressive states while also offering strategic insight to movement practitioners.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Political Invisibility and Mobilization

2. The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo

3. The Women in Black, Serbia

4. The Women’s Peace Movement in Liberia

5. Marginalization and Mobilization in Movement Fields

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Selina Gallo-Cruz is an Associate Professor at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her research has contributed broadly to the fields of cultural, political, and global sociology, centering on questions about how cultural beliefs, values, assumptions, and practices shape social movement mobilization.


"Selina Gallo-Cruz tells the compelling stories of women in repressive and unstable political situations who pushed themselves into visibility, relevance, and history. Politically marginal at the outset, these activist women were able to find and cultivate free spaces for organizing that later served as a foundation for a meaningful resistance to repression. Political Invisibility and Mobilization is ultimately indispensable."

David S. Meyer, University of California, Irvine

"Selina Gallo-Cruz has woken me up. Her in-depth comparison of this trio of women's peace movements has made me think about questions I hadn't really weighed before. She traces each group from their origins, when their efforts were dismissively (patriarchally) ridiculed by repressive elites, to the moment when they gained surprising political traction, and then on to their later phases when their activists had to decide how to use their political currencies. Gallo-Cruz shows us that a long attention span is crucial for fully assessing the impact of any women-led political movement."

Cynthia Enloe, author of The Big Push: Exposing and Challenging Persistent Patriarchy